This study aimed at investigating these complex interactions with a view to ascertaining the risk or benefit of acquiring these factors in a malaria endemic part of Nigeria. In a cross sectional study, 240 asymptomatic, non-hospitalized children aged 1-8 years of both sexes were assessed for nutritional status (using anthropometric indexes), malaria parasite, hemoglobin, white blood cell count, hemoglobin electrophoretic pattern, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and serum ferritin concentrations. Fifteen percent of the children were malnourished (BMI Z score <-2), 12.5% were iron deficient (serum ferritin <12 ng mL-1), 12.5% were HbAS, 87.5% HbAA while 5% of the children were G6PD deficient. The mean parasite density of the study population was 1.14 x 10 3 parasites μL-1 and the risk of malaria infection was higher in iron replete children than those who were iron deficient (RRR = 0.33, χ 2 = 2.825, p<0.05). The risk was age-related, higher in the under fives than the 5-8 years group (RRR =1.7, χ 2 = 2.910; p<0.02). There was an association between low serum iron concentration and sickle cell trait (χ 2 = 35.890; p = 0.056), no statistical significant risk was observed with nutritional status, hemoglobinopathy and G6PD deficiency. This study provides an observational support that iron deficient children are to some extent protected against malaria infection and malnutrition places children below five years of age at risk of malaria related morbidity.
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